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The 5 Most Common Mistakes Tournament Directors Make

Increasing the price without adding value

This is the most common mistake we see. It usually occurs in high-cost sports like hockey, lacrosse, and diamond sports (baseball and softball). In most cases, it's the result of the increased facility or operational costs, such as staff, officials, or apparel. In order to understand why this is a mistake, you have to first put yourself in your customer's shoes.

Let’s say it costs $1,000 to participate in your event. The cost then increases to $1,200 the following year. When a returning team recognizes the cost change but no noticeable changes to the event, they will undoubtedly have some tough questions. 

How do you counteract this? 

Get creative and ask your coaches and their parents how you can make their experience more enjoyable. Teams and their families aren't unreasonable and will understand increasing costs. They just want an exchange in value or they will consider a new event next year. 

Not receiving the proper personal data permissions during the registration process

If you’re reading this and you don’t know what the four letters "GDPR" represent, you need to be concerned. 

The GDPR is a piece of European legislation that is changing data privacy forever. The document requires companies that are collecting data to follow a couple of simple but game-changing rules. The most important elements are:

  • Customers must click, select, or opt-in to exactly what content you intend to share with them in the future
  • The customer can request a complete deletion of their data from your database and you must comply

For many years, events and marketers have spammed any and all customers. This starts with data mining and accelerates once a purchase is been made. To this day, I still get added to mailing lists I didn’t subscribe to. Those days are coming to an end. Companies in Europe are being fined heavily and this practice is coming to North America. 

If you don’t have a plan for these rules to enter into prominence in your region, you need to start thinking about how and when you will react. 

Any data you’ve collected to date without permission will be useless in the future. It's time to update your terms and conditions in order to reinforce or reinstate their consent. 

Discounting  prices to fill divisions and brackets

We see this all the time. In an act of desperation to fill an event, event directors gift or provide heavy discounts at the last minute. 

We fully understand that without these teams you can’t run the event or division. There's no plan to combat this outcome in most cases and then a scramble to close the gap on the backside. 

The mistake is that by discounting this price point you’ve devalued your product. The team which you’ve discounted now knows you’re willing to bend and will never want to pay more. If they do pay more, they will have a negative approach to the increased cost for the same event.

When those same teams brag about the money they saved, every other team or participant knows there are discounts available if they hold out. 

When you run out of time to market your event, you know you'll need to start earlier next time.

I’d love to hear how you combat this during your events. Tell me how by tagging @tourneyboss and using the hashtag #tourneybosstips on Twitter. 

Growing too big or too fast

This is a common occurrence for new businesses or event companies. The interesting part is it usually isn't because they can't keep up with their business. It's that they weren't prepared for what was required at a larger scale.

We have seen a lot of businesses try to build enough revenue to justify the costs required of starting the business. In turn, these businesses focus on revenue first instead of providing value. If you follow us regularly, you will know how much we hang our hat on value first and profit second. 

If you are aiming for long-term success, you should instead be focused on the details and providing that value first. We talk about a three-year plan a lot and having enough resources to weather the storm for three full years. This is how you create sustained success.

Build your business strong and do it early and often. Don’t wait until you're bursting at the seams to make the changes as it may already be too late. 

Not seeking feedback

This is such an easy thing to do. Whether you use an easily accessible tool like Google Forms or Survey Monkey, you need to be sending out post-event feedback surveys for every event. 

If you learn one little thing from just one customer from every event, you are light years ahead of your competition. It’s easy to get better when you are constantly communicating with your customer. 

Whether you've been at this for years or just getting started, never stop learning and continue to seek ways to provide more value and you'll be taking all of the right steps to accomplish more for your customer. They will reward you with profit in exchange for value. 


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Tyler Childs
Ty is the founder of Tournkey. His background is in travel and events. Over the last 25 years, Ty has had the opportunity to see the world through events. Tournkey is the amalgamation of that journey and the path towards more productive events.